Mother Failure?

by Margi Giovannetti

Happy Mother’s Day you “failure” of a mother.

On Mother’s Day, many celebrate, and rightly so, the wonderful mothers in their families. Hugs, kisses, accolades, flowers, cards, presents, breakfast in bed, brunch, lunch, dinner . . . and oh how you deserve it all.

But there are those mothers that will not feel celebratory. Instead, there are unacknowledged and unknown — shed and unshed — tears; a smile that doesn’t reach the eyes when greeted with “Happy Mother’s Day;” and an internal mental debate about the joy of the occasion. I speak to you.

You are a mom that believes she deserves an “F” in motherhood. Things have not worked out as you imagined and dreamed. You torture yourself with questions like: Did I not eat and drink the right things while pregnant? Did I discipline too much or too little? Did I love too much or too little? Did I socialize, prioritize, Ferberize the right way? Did I fail to educate, indoctrinate, incorporate values? Did I pray too little, pray wrong?

You are not the mom with the straight A student — whose kid also played three sports, oh and sat first violin in the orchestra, who cleaned up on debate team, pranced through the musicals, won the state science fair, ran in that touchdown, hit that homer, or cheerleaded to the nationals. You are not the mom whose kid was just accepted to an Ivy league school, or got that medical degree, or is the youngest partner of the law firm, or a founder of that new start up. You are not the heritage-seed-garden growing, all-organic cooking, essential-oil infusing, no-video-game policing mom.  You are a “failure”.

You torture yourself with Facebook posts where you see other moms with happy families, fit bodies, organized schedules, successful children, adorable dogs and adoring husbands and kids, where even the posts of their “failures” are somehow envy-producing, inspiring and cute.

To those mothers who shed tears in the solitude of the shower, the stillness of the night, the solace of a garden . . . you should not be measured by the success of your offspring. Sometimes, what we want just doesn’t come about. What we wish, just doesn’t happen. What we pour our souls and hearts into, and would give our last dying breath for, defies our sacrifice.

I don’t know why. I offer no answers. One day we can ask our Creator. Until then, I w
ant you to know, you “failure” of a mother, that if you tried YOUR best, if you loved YOUR best, if you gave YOUR best  – not what someone else’s definition of “best” is – YOU are to be celebrated and loved this day . . . even if that celebration only happens in your own heart.

Your worth is not measured on a balancing scale where you find yourself wanting because you do not measure up – at least not in your own eyes. Onlookers may see “failure” but God knows and sees your heart, He knows your pain, He knows of your unending efforts, He has heard your prayers and He holds your mother’s heart within His gentle hands.

So, to all the mothers that label themselves “failures” – I wish you a truly Happy Mother’s Day. You are loved.

[sharing is appreciated]

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3 thoughts on “Mother Failure?

  1. Great post for Mother’s Day. This will resonate with many women who think the word motherhood is synonymous with perfection. Even when children are grown, there’s the tendency to think, .”Maybe if I’d raised them differently, they would or wouldn’t……”

  2. Thank you so much for these words. I have such high expectations of myself and fall so very short, and God has given me kids who need more grace and acceptance in their special needs than those not similarly challenged. Thank you! Then there are the painful memories of years of infertility, a year where I was finally a mother on Mother’s Day but my unborn child had preceded me to heaven and no one remembered my agony as I sat in church and watched other mothers glow in the presence of their offspring.

    This life is nothing that I expected, but I press on, learning about grace (finally!) and God’s complete satisfaction with me because of Jesus’ blood. Thank you for the help, Giovannetti family!

  3. God certainly knows our parenting pain because His whole creation made Him look like a failed parent. We know our Father God is not a failure based on how humans behave! But we humans forever play the comparison game to our discouragement and detriment. Blessings to you Margi and Bill for ministering the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!

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